Posts by: Katie O'Brien

Exclamation Points Are Feminist!

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Friendly emails are a sign of progress, not weakness, in our working lives. Policing women’s use of language is over (we wish). But at the Huffington Post, Angelina Chapin argues that women’s use of exclamation marks in the workplace represents a subversion of masculinist notions about leadership.

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The Editing of Anne Frank’s Diary Was Sexist

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There’s something very unsettling about the idea of editing someone’s personal and autobiographical journal. After all, it’s supposed to be a portal into the past: Anne’s experience in the annex, exactly what happened exactly as it happened. At The Establishment, Stephanie Watson makes the case for buying only the unabridged version of Anne Frank’s Diary—the version […]

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A “Girl” and Her Mother

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At The Millions, Naa Baako Ako-Adjei discusses reading Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” through the lens of her relationship with her own mother growing up, and her new understanding of the story fifteen years later: In my rereading of “Girl,” I also realized that I never noticed how transgressive the story is. The mother’s liturgy about behaving […]

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Trump + Books = ???

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At Electric Literature, Dani Spencer looks at Japanese writers who have already written dozens of books that envision what the world could look like if Donald Trump were to win the election. Let’s hope that’s the closest we have to get to finding out. Meanwhile, on a lighter note, Twitter imagines how the known non-reader […]

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And the Nobel Prize in Literature Goes To…

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Bob Dylan? At Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel acknowledged that no one is quite sure how to feel about the news. At Slate, Stephen Metcalf praises Bob Dylan’s genius, but argues that he’s a musician, not a poet: The objection here hinges in the definition of the word literature. You wouldn’t give the literary prize to […]

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What Elena Ferrante and Kim Kardashian Have in Common

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While the outing of Elena Ferrante and the robbing of Kim Kardashian were not inherently gendered acts, the responses to them certainly have been. In light of these two seemingly divergent issues, the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino meditates on the framing of female ambition in the media, and what happens “when women signify too much”: …the […]

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Zoë Ruiz in Conversation with Micah Perks

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Don’t miss this interview at The Believer between former Rumpus Managing Editor Zoë Ruiz and contributor Micah Perks on Perks’s new novel, What Becomes Us—a story told from the point of view of twin fetuses inside the main character. Topics discussed include the book’s themes of “nice girls,” hunger, and the desire to feed oneself, as well as the publishing process.

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The Handmaid’s (Cautionary) Tale

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At The Establishment, Laura Beans discusses the importance of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as a predictive novel, drawing many connections between the novel and increasing attempts to control women’s bodies: Instead of seeming further from the truth, the novel’s warnings only seem to echo louder in recent years. Atwood’s analysis of her own twisted […]

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Writing = Work = Job

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Settling the debate about whether “writer” is job that arose with Merritt Tierce’s Marie Claire essay about going broke post-debut novel, and a response piece by Ester Bloom at The Billfold calling writing a hobby, Lincoln Michel finds a middle ground between the two stances, arguing at Electric Literature that yes, writing should be considered a job—and the […]

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The End of the Road

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At The Establishment, Anne Theriault recounts driving out West to see the house of her childhood heroine Laura Ingalls, and what it taught her about the horrific underpinnings of the American Dream: And then we passed a mural with a confederate flag and I felt that hot prickle of shame and fear—fear because of what […]

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Not Enough Buzz to Go Around

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At Lit Hub, Ilana Masad outlines the importance of publicists in generating buzz for new books in a social media saturated-environment, and the struggle many authors face to generate their own publicity at small presses without the resources to do more: The difference between being published with a “Big 5” publisher versus a small or independent […]

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Keep Minor Characters Minor

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At the Guardian, Charlotte Jones takes issue with the recently announced Pride and Prejudice sequel fleshing out the life of Mary Bennett—a character whose neglect is central to Austin’s plot: The singularity of Elizabeth Bennett, after all – the reason she so often features in lists of our favourite literary characters – relies solely upon […]

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Written in Ink

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In a powerful essay at The Establishment, Evelyn Deshane discusses rejecting the medical narrative around transitioning, and how tattoos allowed them to reclaim their own body: When the physicality of my gender—that “place” that could be home—feels out of reach, tattoos are my way to be present in my body, and to control what happens to […]

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Anti-Blackness in Sci-Fi Publishing

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Less than two percent of science fiction stories published in 2015 were by black writers. And a recent study found that black speculative fiction writers face “universal” racism—more damning evidence demonstrating the institutionalized racism in book publishing, and the importance of introducing more diversity at every level of the process.

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No Cure Necessary

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At The Establishment, Mariah Ramsawakh discusses the damaging, unrealistic “miraculous cure” trope often found when the media portrays characters with disabilities: People with disabilities are tired of being lumped together as less than able-bodied folk, and being told they’ll only be the “real” versions of themselves when they’ve been cured. When I asked my three disabled participants […]

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